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House of Cards Paperback – March 11, 2014


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Editorial Reviews

Review

"The novel - both its 1989 and 2014 incarnations - is a delicious wallow in British bad behavior, both public and private... You'll find their accents plummier, of course, and their sense of class distinctions sharper. But no translation skills are required to make Dobb's novel a yummy treat for any Anglophile - or any fan of the new House of Cards." - AARP.org

From the Publisher

'This blood-and-thunder tale, lifelike and thoroughly cynical, certainly carries the ring of authenticity ... a great triumph.' - Independent

'The exciting thriller that has Westminster buzzing. Here is a political thriller writer with a marvellous inside track knowledge of government.' - Daily Express

'It has pace, a beguiling authenticity and a cast of Achilles heels.' - Daily Telegraph

'What a brilliant creation F.U. is.' - Sunday Telegraph --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Series: House of Cards (Book 1)
  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Sourcebooks Landmark (March 11, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1492606618
  • ISBN-13: 978-1492606611
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 5.8 x 8.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (131 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #35,456 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

47 of 48 people found the following review helpful By David Schnider on November 9, 2002
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This is the first in a trilogy that is, perhaps, the best of modern political fiction. The reader can't help but be riveted by the lead character, even hoping for his sinister plots to succeed. Even having seen the BBC television version, I loved the book. It's a great read.
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30 of 32 people found the following review helpful By Thomas Grover VINE VOICE on August 25, 2010
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
I recently read the authors four novels on Churchill and was bowled over. As a result I looked for additional works by Mr. Dobbs and came across this novel which I think is absolutely brilliant ! We are introduced to a devious, ruthless, and very dangerous protagonist with the most appropriate initials, F.U..

Francis Urquhart, an unknown politicians politician knows the ins and outs of Her Majesty's Government like no one else, and because he serves as Chief Whip of the party knows the foibles, vices, and secrets of his colleagues. Plans are set in motion to destroy his competition while he makes his move to become Prime Minister while the sitting Prime Minister falls to F.U.

This is a great read.
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34 of 40 people found the following review helpful By L Wiz on January 16, 2002
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is drier than the wonderful BBC series starring Ian Richardson. But because Michael Dobbs spent years as a journalist covering British politics, plot points that are simplified or glossed over in the series are explained in more detail. So I feel like I understand what went on in the TV series more, but it's not as much fun. The book went through some significant changes on the way to the teleplay adaptation.
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36 of 44 people found the following review helpful By Richard Dewhurst on August 1, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Story not bad but predictable. Translation to Kindle/digital format is absolutely atrocious. There could not have been any proof reading done whatsoever. The OCR process must have done the conversion with no checking whatsoever.
Amazon should be refunding the price paid
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Keith A. Comess VINE VOICE on April 2, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Michael Dobbs, aka Baron Dobbs of the Conservative Party, is a member of the British House of Lords. In his various roles in government, extending over many years and in many roles (including advisor to former PM Margaret Thatcher; Conservative MP speechwriter; Government "Special Advisor"; and Conservative Party Chief of Staff) he is presumably well-placed to probe the dark corners of British politics. He also worked in advertising, lending another interesting perspective to his worldview. His fictional accounting of a Machiavellian series of maneuvers, undertaken in an effort to undermine and discredit the serving Prime Minister, is the basis for this interesting story.

Much of the book revolves around various situations that are peculiar to parliamentary government systems (and likely are unique to the UK). In it, the cynical and devious maneuvering of Chief Whip Frances Urquhart of "the Party" destroy politicians, devastate lives and ruin careers. There are also a couple of murders. One can infer that the parochial nature of the tale has been transcended: there are larger lessons to be learned (and a good story to be told).

Urquhart's malevolent nature and cunning political ambitions were apparently catalyzed into action (creating a modern day "I, Claudius" tale) by an offhand and offensive remark by PM Collingridge to "FU" in the presence of a senior party official. Revenge was relentless and remorseless. The book concludes with FU's election as PM and sets the stage for the two book sequels and the two TV series it spawned. Revenge and ruthless cynicism are universal themes. The truth and power of the axiom, "Knowledge is power" is nicely illustrated in this story.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Cindylou Who on March 25, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
After watching the American version of "House of Cards" I HAD to read the book that was the beginning of it all. Michael Dobbs' writing is fast-paced and interesting. I couldn't put the book down but hated arriving at the last chapter knowing the book would be coming to an end. I've ordered two more books by Michael Dobbs from Amazon and can't wait for them to arrive.
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9 of 12 people found the following review helpful By NorCal Resident on March 7, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Reading this book was a delicious revelation after watching Ian Richardson bring Frances Urquhart to life in the original BBC TV series based on this novel. (The Netflix production with Kevin Spacey in the Urquhart role is a later American spin-off).

Dobbs' writing is biting and acerbic in depicting the fragile egos and hangers-on surrounding his fictional British Prime Minister and Urquhart, his sly Chief Whip, whose charge it is to quietly erase the missteps and hide the Achilles heels of some members of Parliament, who might have a small problem with drugs, money or women (I couldn't possibly comment).

First published in 1990, this novel is a breath of fresh air for American readers. It steps beyond any cultural need to be heroic or righteous in exploring aspects of political life, so Urquhart is wicked without apology and very deliciously so, as he hoards the Achilles heels of those around him like so many gold coins to be cashed-out at a later date.

Dobbs cleverly unmasks the foibles of those who seek political power unequivocally, yet who stumble from an innate lack of understanding in just how vigilant and ruthless their political enemies can be.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By DiggerDawson on June 18, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I had read Michael Dobbs series on Winston Churchill and enjoyed them very much. Coincidentally, I had recently watched the US remake of 'House of Cards'. Perhaps it was time to read the original story now that my memory of the much earlier BBC version constituted only Urquhart's face and the climactic scene on the rooftop.
About half way through the book I realised how much the art of novel writing has matured, along with TV screenwriting, in the last few decades. The idea of the book remains clever, even brilliant, but the contrast between the original plot and the re-interpreting of it in the American series reveals the plot weaknesses of the original. Some measure of suspended belief is required. Rather too much in the case of the original. Could he really get away with it? Surely not.
But, for a while, it us fun to believe he did.
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